There was a time not too long ago when, had this Guardian story been written as is for a major media outlet, it would not have been published because it would have been seen as aiding and abetting the cause of the Religious Right (by feeding prejudice). Times have changed. Vice is a virtue, and debauchery is now liberation of a politically advantageous kind. Arwa Madhawi reports from Dinah Shore Weekend in Palm Springs, California. Excerpts:

Every year at the end of March, 20,000 lesbians from around the world fly into the Californian desert for five days of debauchery, and I’m one of them. It’s my second time at the Dinah, also known as the largest girl festival in the world. I’m staying at the Hilton in Palm Springs, which is hosting the famous Dinah pool parties, and the hotel feels like a homosexual harem.

I like her colorful, forthright, descriptive language. No euphemisms there, nor any of the self-censoring media used to do when reporting on these things a decade or two ago, lest the public read the facts and come to doubt the Narrative. Do not fail to observe that even today, despite the securing of same-sex marriage rights and the ongoing cultural revolution around all things LGBT, if a cultural conservative used the same language to describe the event, it would be prima facie evidence of bigotry. More:

There’s a sense of liberation and a tacit understanding that what happens in Dinah stays in Dinah (unless it ends up on Facebook).

“Flashing is normal,” Charlotte, 24, told me. “I get flashed at a lot.” Random girls pulling you into their hotel rooms are also pretty standard. One year, there was a minor earthquake in Palm Springs. Debbie, a Dinah veteran who has attended every event since 1991, recalls that half the water splashed out of the pool. Most of the girls were too drunk to realize or care.

The feeling of permissiveness is compounded by the desert scenery: it looks like there has been some sort of gaypocalypse, and all the straight men and women have died out.

It’s a surreal experience: for a few days the world is turned upside down, the minority is suddenly the majority. Everywhere you look, lesbians are smiling, drinking, dancing, kissing.

I will never accept that acting like an animal is evidence of human dignity. And:

Speaking of economics: corporations have finally woken up to the profit margins of the margins, and the Dinah has become a lot more attractive to brands. Bacardi, Bud Lite, Smirnoff and Barefoot Wines are all big sponsors this year. Bacardi and Bud have sent teams of scantily clad promo girls (most of whom are straight) who hand out swag, pose for photos and generally act a little gay for pay. While it’s normally irritating to get relentlessly advertised to, in this case it’s a sign of progress. You’re not a real human until you’re recognized by corporate America.

What a great line, that last one, and so very true. Read the whole thing. 

This is our world now. I spent the past few days talking to conservative Lutheran pastors in Canada, where LGBT consciousness in both law and culture is further advanced than in the US. If you doubt the need for the Benedict Option, spend a little time north of the border talking in depth with orthodox Christians, both pastors and laity. Where Canada is today, the US will be tomorrow or the day after — though Deo gratias, we will be spared the terror of the Human Rights Commissions.

Note too the conclusion of the Dinah Shore Weekend piece for a sign of what’s to come:

It’s also a reminder of how much today’s gay people owe to previous generations. There was a long fight for our right to party, and it’s not over yet. I got back from the Dinah on Tuesday morning; the same day Mississippi’s governor signed legislation making discrimination against gay couples legal. There’s still a while to go before we can all really celebrate.

Madame DeFarge has a Sapphic side, methinks. Humankind will not be free until the gaypocalypse comes to Tupelo.

UPDATE: I kept getting annoyed reading the people in the comments section saying that I had a double standard for Spring Break and Mardi Gras. Annoyed, because I specifically mentioned Spring Break and Mardi Gras as examples of heterosexuals acting like rutting animals. The software saved an earlier version of the post, but not the final version, and my online connection cut off as the flight I was on began to land. So, yes, absolutely compare this to heterosexual bacchanals. That’s totally fair. Thing is, events like Spring Break and Mardi Gras, when they get like this, are simply regarded as vice. This writer frames the Dinah Shore Weekend as an identity-politics virtue.

UPDATE.2: For readers who did not read the entire piece, and who think that I’m portraying mere kissing and drinking and dancing as animalistic behavior, well, here’s more:

“Flashing is normal,” Charlotte, 24, told me. “I get flashed at a lot.” Random girls pulling you into their hotel rooms are also pretty standard. One year, there was a minor earthquake in Palm Springs. Debbie, a Dinah veteran who has attended every event since 1991, recalls that half the water splashed out of the pool. Most of the girls were too drunk to realize or care.

And:

Syphilis, by the way, isn’t something most lesbians think about much as they rack up Dinah conquests (“Never settle for a girl from day one,” one girl advised me, “the day two girls are always better”). Nor are STDs in general. It’s my untested hypothesis that one of the reasons the Dinah is so debauched is that it is quite difficult to get pregnant when sleeping with other women, and there’s also a misperception among many lesbians that you’re not at risk of STDs.

And:

Vice are here this year, for example, shooting a documentary. The producer is gay, but it’s also her first Dinah and she looks a little overwhelmed.

“What’s your angle?” I ask her. “Well, you know, we’re going to show all the tits and ass,” she says, as her cameraperson zooms in on just that, “and then we’re going to show why it’s actually really meaningful.” She pauses for a moment. “So far though, all we’ve got is the tits and ass.”

Let’s not downplay the tits and ass – they’re meaningful in their own way.

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